Florida unemployment rate drops to 3%, Orlando area to 2.5%

Nearly 200,000 jobs created in 2019

DeSantis announces Made in Space HQ moving to Jacksonville

Florida’s unemployment rate dipped to 3% in December, a drop Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office is calling a record low for the Sunshine State.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released its monthly jobs report for December that reviews Florida’s labor statistics.

According to the report, 220,000 Florida residents entered the workforce and Florida businesses created 198,200 private-sector jobs last year. The job growth rate of 2.5% outpaces the national average of 1.5%.

In the Orlando area, the unemployment rate dropped half a percent in 2019 to 2.5% by December. The Orlando area also had the highest job creation rate in the state, adding 40,800 new private-sector jobs in the past year. The leisure and hospitality industry saw the highest growth rate in 2019 adding 12,500 new jobs. Professional and business services experienced the second-highest increase with 12,300 new jobs.

“Our historic low unemployment is not a coincidence,” Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Ken Lawson said in a news release. “Governor DeSantis understands that diversifying our economy is good for all Floridians and he has advocated for policies that encourage businesses to invest in our state.”

DeSantis’ office highlighted some companies creating jobs in 2020, including 3D space printing company Made In Space, which announced this month it is relocating its headquarters and satellite manufacturing facilities from California to Jacksonville.

“By expanding our presence in Florida we can leverage a skilled aerospace workforce, large-scale infrastructure to support our growth, and key strategic partners like Space Florida that will accelerate our momentum as we continue to develop world-class space technology,” Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush said last month.

Overall in Florida, the education and health services industries saw the most growth adding 54,100 jobs in 2019, according to the report.

“My administration continues to pursue bold priorities for Florida, and our efforts to diversify the economy are yielding results,” DeSantis said. “I remain laser-focused on ensuring Florida is offering a world-class pool of talent to businesses and investing in our students and educators. We continue to prioritize the protection of our natural resources and water quality while also continuously searching for ways to support new and innovative industries which are helping to produce historically low unemployment in our state.”